Concern for services under NDIS

The Mental Health Council of Tasmania has raised concerns about how the National Disability Insurance Scheme roll-out could impact some vulnerable Tasmanians.

The council expressed concern in a submission to a federal Parliamentary inquiry about the NDIS. 

Four Commonwealth mental health programs are being absorbed by the NDIS, including the Personal Helpers and Mentors Program.

“It is vital that the recovery focus of community managed mental health services – providers of psychosocial supports - is not diluted or lost in this new system,” the submission said.

“MHCT is also concerned that the lack of information and clear communication about gaps and how they will be addressed could create a situation where some people receive a high level of support and others may receive very little support at all.”

The response was based on consultation with provider MHCT members who delivered Commonwealth-funded mental health programs transitioning to the NDIS. An urgent concern for members was that many organisations lost funding through the transition phase, which had a variable impact on the services they could offer.

“These particular member organisations have stressed that, transition arrangements in terms of how to meet gaps and ensure no disadvantage have not been clearly articulated and that the decrease in funding is already having a detrimental effect,” the council wrote. 

“Our recent discussions with Tasmanian providers of Commonwealth funded programs has resulted in general agreement that around 30 per cent of all Commonwealth program participants will be ineligible for the NDIS,” it said. 

A federal Department of Social Services spokeswoman said governments provided support for mentally ill people in a number of ways. She said the NDIS would provide ongoing support to people with a severe and permanent mental illness, also known as psychosocial disability. She said transitional continuity of support would be provided through existing program funding, and that longer term continuity of support arrangements were being developed.